Abra Weaving Village

Fabrics made by these craftswomen are truly one of a kind. Sadly it is a diminishing trade because machine-made fabrics are cheaper and faster to make. Sugarcane is making a case for these special textiles. Here's the extraordinary process of hand loom weaving in Abra, Philippines.

Aling Naty is Abra's weaving community leader. Through her, the mothers have been empowered to learn weaving and give their families a new source of income.

Aling Naty is Abra's weaving community leader. Through her, the mothers have been empowered to learn weaving and give their families a new source of income.

The first step of the weaving process is spinning the yarn using this no-tech spinning wheel.

The first step of the weaving process is spinning the yarn using this no-tech spinning wheel.

Three spools of thread (white cones on the floor, right side of frame) are spun into small spools of yarn that are used for the weft.

Three spools of thread (white cones on the floor, right side of frame) are spun into small spools of yarn that are used for the weft.

Basket full of spun yarn for the weft.

Basket full of spun yarn for the weft.

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The yarn for all the entire village is prepped in this single room. I call her Manang Spider Woman because she has to move left to right going up and down the wall one spike at a time. There are 24 spools of thread being used for this step (gray cones on the floor). The thread is rolled on bamboo sticks for the warp. 

The yarn for all the entire village is prepped in this single room. I call her Manang Spider Woman because she has to move left to right going up and down the wall one spike at a time. There are 24 spools of thread being used for this step (gray cones on the floor). The thread is rolled on bamboo sticks for the warp. 

This determines the color combination of the finished textile. Only Aling Naty and this manang know how to do this step. They often get up at 2 AM so that all the weavers would have yarn to weave that day.

This determines the color combination of the finished textile. Only Aling Naty and this manang know how to do this step. They often get up at 2 AM so that all the weavers would have yarn to weave that day.

These bags hold the thread that will be prepped for weaving and spun into yarn. They are scrap thread bought by the kilo from a garment manufacturer in La Union.

These bags hold the thread that will be prepped for weaving and spun into yarn. They are scrap thread bought by the kilo from a garment manufacturer in La Union.

The bundle of bamboo sticks below were prepped by Manang Spider Woman or Aling Naty that morning.

The bundle of bamboo sticks below were prepped by Manang Spider Woman or Aling Naty that morning.

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Through reinvestment, Aling Naty has been able to buy new looms and expand weaving from a part-time to a full-time activity for the village mothers. Her weaving center has looms over 100 years old and brand new. Local carpenters learned to repair and make them for her. The newest one is in the middle and was made for PHP 11,000 (approximately USD $250). 

Through reinvestment, Aling Naty has been able to buy new looms and expand weaving from a part-time to a full-time activity for the village mothers. Her weaving center has looms over 100 years old and brand new. Local carpenters learned to repair and make them for her. The newest one is in the middle and was made for PHP 11,000 (approximately USD $250).